Friday, 10 April 2020

UK Government: "Don't leave us behind' says CFPO's Paul Trebilcock!

Paul Trebilcock looks over the Newlyn fleet from the CFPO office.

Paul wrote a letter to Secretary of State George Eustice and all Cornish MPs yesterday, asking for a specific support package from DEFRA for fishermen suffering financially as a result of Covid-19. See the letter below.

“As an MP who has shown active support for the fishing industry, I’m writing to bring a critical issue to your attention at this extremely challenging time for our sector – here in Cornwall, and UK-wide. Attached is a briefing from the National federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO), which the CFPO has been instrumental in drafting.

The key message for us is simple: England is being left behind in terms of bespoke support for fishermen. Support packages have been provided by all of the Devolved Administrations (DAs) for their respective fishing fleets – offering much-needed security for fishermen in Scotland, N. Ireland and Wales. DEFRA is behind the curve, leaving English – and our Cornish – fishermen facing the economic onslaught of Coronavirus without a safety net. When will this be addressed?

The UK Government’s generous, but generic, support packages for the employed and self-employed thus far fail to recognise the unique conditions of many of our fishermen. With the DAs acknowledging this and acting swiftly, fishermen across England are losing confidence in the Government as they await similar recognition.

The very real short-term pain of coronavirus impacts on the Cornish fishing industry must not be allowed to erode our ability to reap the rewards of our withdrawal from the EU – support to bolster the industry through this time will be critical in positioning us to maximise benefits to fishing communities once the pandemic is over.

As UK consumers look for new avenues to fresh, healthy food – there is an opportunity to stimulate some demand in the domestic market through direct sales to households (see the excellent work of Seafood Cornwall #FishToYourDoor campaign). As a foothold in securing a taste at home for UK-caught, local fish species, this is not to be ignored. The industry must be shored up in order to capitalise on this in future, as we leave the EU.

Your support and assistance would be very much appreciated. Please feel free to contact me to talk trough any of the issues raised and challenges facing Cornish fishermen. I am available via email

Kind regards,


Paul Trebilcock

Chief Executive

Cornish Fish Producers Organisation

Covid-19 – 3rd update from the MMO

As we approach the second of full week of the current medical emergency, I want to continue to check in with you to wish you and yours’ good health, and to also keep you updated and engaged about MMO’s focus on informing and supporting our customers and stakeholders.

MMO continues to be available to support our customers, stakeholders and partners. I want to assure you that we are here to listen and to help where we can.

The challenges across the whole economy continue to develop. MMO continues to work with Government to help to support and respond to the most immediate impacts. Some examples of our actions are described below.

Marine Planning: Following requests from stakeholders, we have extended the consultation period for our four new Marine Plans for England. Whilst all required face to face engagement was completed before the outbreak, our consultation deadline has now been moved to April 20, giving stakeholders three more weeks to comment.

Marine Licensing: We have temporarily suspended customer invoicing for two weeks while we consider options of how to support customers where needed, and will be letting you know more about this soon. Please contact us if you want to discuss anything with us.

Fisheries: The Maritime and Fisheries Fund, which MMO administers, has been exceptionally busy. Grants totalling more than £2m were made in March, and our MMO team continues to process applications for fishing gear replacement, health & safety, training and processing initiatives.

To support fishermen to sell more of their catch direct, following the closure of export markets and reduced hospitality trade, we have published guidance on the regulations for selling fish direct to the public.

Members of the public are allowed to purchase up to 30kg of fish each from a licensed fishing vessel. Some fishermen are also keen to donate catch to charities and social welfare organisations and we will help any charity to register quickly in order to be able to benefit from this.

We have also enhanced our fishing vessel licensing application process so that applications can now made digitally, on-line, removing the need for paperwork. Paper licences will be issued again, once the outbreak is over.

We have further updated our guide to the wide range of financial support currently available from Government, and included links to the welfare and wellbeing services available from the charity sector.

We are ready to hear of any further improvements we might take to further support business and industry in these challenging times. Our various contact details are to be found here.

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you need our support or advice.

With best regards